In addition, the Senate also passed SB 11 by Carona, an overreaching homeland security bill whose companion HB 3642 was heard this week in House Defense Affairs (analyzed by Grits here). Let's hope the House will look on the unncessary expansions of secrecy and law enforcement power in the legislation with a more jaundiced eye than the Senate. UPDATE: See Houston Chronicle and Dallas News coverage of SB 11.
SB 1909 by Senators Ellis, Carona, Deuell, Whitmire, Hinojosa, Hegar, Van de Putte, West- relating to providing smart and tailored treatment for non-dangerous drug-possession offenders - has passed the Senate floor on its third reading!
While incarcerated, drug offenders often receive little or no treatment to address substance abuse problems. As a result, many frequently return to drug use upon release, contributing to the State's high recidivism rate and, in turn, prison overcrowding.
What does SB 1909 do?
- Halts the wasteful expenditure of millions of dollars each year on the incarceration and re-incarceration of non-violent drug users whose addiction can be effectively addressed through judge-ordered, tailored treatment. See savings produced by this bill. Note: These diversion savings would be used to fund drug treatment, outpatient programs, and drug courts. See Rider 73, Title V.
- Provides tools for judges to address offenders' substance abuse treatment needs while allowing them the discretion to send those who they feel are not treatable to prison or jail.
- Provides offenders an incentive to successfully complete treatment by allowing them to apply for non-disclosure of their record once they successfully complete treatment. Note: law enforcement, prosecutors, judges, and certification boards would still have access to the record.
- Allows judges to use progressive sanctions for probationers and parolees who they feel are amenable to treatment.
- This bill would not apply to violent or sexual offenders.
Wednesday, April 18, 2007
Important treatment, progressive sanctions bill clears Senate, plus bad homeland security bill
Good News: SB 1909 (described earlier here and here) has passed the full Senate and is headed over to the House. The Texas Criminal Justice Coalition sent out an email alert commemorating the milestone and describing the version of the legislation that passed the Senate: